Explore oil in India, minister asks London investors

Saturday, 26 January 2008, 05:33 Hrs
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New Delhi: India's Petroleum Minister Murli Deora made a strong pitch in London Thursday for investment in the 57 exploration acreages currently on offer by the Indian government for bidding, said an official statement.

The government recently launched the seventh round of bidding for exploration licenses under the National Exploration Licensing Policy (NELP) regime.

British Gas, British Petroleum, Cairn Energy, Premier Oil and Hardy Exploration were key international oil and gas companies that participated in the London road show.

Deora was speaking at international oil and gas companies as part of the petroleum ministry's two-day road show for the seventh round of bidding under NELP in London beginning Jan 24, the statement said.

According to the statement, Deora said that chances for getting oil and gas in India were still fairly high as two-thirds of the country's estimated 180 billion barrels of oil and oil equivalent of gas reserves remained unexplored.

He said the Indian government had always honoured contracts signed for oil and gas exploration concessions allocated companies under the NELP regime.

"Sanctity of signed contracts has always been maintained. Under NELP, contractor has freedom to market oil and gas in India," Deora was quoted as saying.

According to the statement, he said that foreign oil and gas companies were earning attractive returns on the investment in NELP oil and gas exploration blocks.

As an example, he cited that British Gas (BG) was getting a gas price of $5.7 per million British thermal unit (MBTU) for gas production from its offshore field in India, a market-determined price.

Pointing out that April 11 was the bid closing date for this round, Deora said the government was committed to complete evaluation, award and signing of production sharing contracts in a strict time frame.

"As demonstrated in the past, the Indian government has plan to complete the process of award and singing of production sharing contracts within 3 to 4 months - that is by July, this year," Deora was quoted as telling the overseas investors.

Also accompanying Murli Deora on this visit are petroleum secretary M.S. Srinivasan, joint secretary for exploration Anil K. Jain and directorate general of hydrocarbons V.K. Sibal as well as heads of various state-owned oil and gas companies.

This is the first overseas road show to be held for oil and gas acreages offered by the Indian government for bidding this time.

According to the release, similar promotional road shows will also be held at Calgary (Canada), Houston, Singapore, Perth and Dubai.
Source: IANS
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